Neuroinvasion, Neuropathogenesis and Neuroprotective Agents in the Pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2
Prof. Ebenezer Olatunde Farombi E-Mail
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Toxicology, and Director, Molecular Drug Metabolism and Toxicology Laboratories, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Research Keywords: molecular pharmacology and toxicology; cellular oxidative stress mechanisms; environmental toxicology; antioxidant redox biochemistry; nutrigenomics; natural product pharmacology
COVID-19 is known basically to be a respiratory disease with the main route of entry into the body via inhalation. However, it is known that SARS-CoV-2 affects extra pulmonary organ systems including the CNS as the virus has been detected in many brain tissues including the choroid plexus, meningeal vessels, neurons and CSF. Despite the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the brain especially from infected patients, there is dearth of knowledge on how it gets there. However, based on the normal route of infection of the virus, it is believed that the olfactory mucosa is a possible route into the brain. Observations from rodents, COVID-19 patients and autopsies from patients who died of COVID-19 reveal that ACE2 is involved in the neuroinvasion of SARS-CoV-2. Neuropathogenesis studies of SARS-CoV-2 infection in non-human primates show neuroinflammation, microhemorrhages, brain hypoxia, neuron degeneration, autoimmune dysfunction, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and apoptosis. This information will prove invaluable in the selection of novel candidates and search for new therapeutic agents with adequate penetration into relevant regions of the CNS. Neuroprotection, an attractive strategy aims to protect the nervous system from injury and damage from infective agents including SARS-CoV-2. Neuroprotective agents include drugs and phytochemicals widely distributed in plants used traditionally in the management of several ailments including viral infections. The bioactive compounds in these plant substances are currently been identified using a battery of pharmacology and molecular docking methods. For instance, flavonoids and semi-synthetic flavonoid derivatives with potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and neuroprotective properties have been developed that block multiple pathological neurodegenerative pathways.
The goal of this special issue is to gather studies on neuroinvasion and neuropathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and therapeutic interventions against the infection. These contributions will include review and systematic review articles, original research, clinical, case studies, and drug trials.
Keywords: neuroinvasion; neuropathogenesis; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; neuroinflammation; neuroprotection; phytochemicals